Houston, Texas: Most people have heard of Ebay, but have you ever heard of an online yard sale? Kingwood residents certainly have and the success of KingwoodYardSales.com is currently spreading to other areas around Houston.
KingwoodYardSales.com is the brainchild of brothers Adam and Austin Allgaier, who developed the site in 2004 to give their wives a venue to get their yard sale fix, even though they live in Kingwood, where garage sales are prohibited.
Since its launch, the site has grown to over 4 million page views per month with over 25,000 unique visitors and has developed a cult following in Kingwood and the surrounding areas. The Allgaier brothers have launched sites in sister sites in the Houston suburbs of Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Cleveland, Cyfair, Katy, Baytown, Sugarland, Pasadena, Pearland, and League City.
"We wanted the experience to be similar to going to a real yard sale where buyers could come back each day and see what was new," said Adam Allgaier. Allgaier is a daily browser himself and peruses new listings every morning.
Visitors to the site can browse through the variety of offerings from area residents. Interested buyers can send a message to the seller requesting more information or to schedule a time for pick-up. Those wanting to sell items can sign up for a free account and list up to ten items at a time for sale. Premiere listing are available for only $7.95 per month and allow unlimited listings, bold item titles, expanded descriptions and photos in the listings.
Users of Kingwood Yard Sales come from all walks of life, but they all enjoy turning that unwanted item hanging around the house into extra cash and finding a good deal. Some sellers just post an item here or there. Others turn it into a business.
Sheryl Enright is one of those who has turned KYS selling into a side business. A year and a half ago, Enright heard about KYS through the grapevine. She quickly became one of the sites most prolific sellers as love4bdd and her KYS sales have rivaled her Ebay sales, where she has been a powerseller for five years.
Enright brought neighbor, Sade DeBoer, into the KYS fold as well. Sade uses a variety of online venues to promote her handmade costumes which she sells online at www.fancyflappers.com. Beyond listing her costumes on all of the yard sale sites including those out of state, DeBoer uses her seller profile, Sade, to generate awareness for her own online shop. She has seen a significant increase in traffic to her site since selling on the yard sales family of sites.
KingwoodYardSales.com has become the online sales venue of choice for both Enright and Sade due to the low cost, ease of listing, and no shipping. Rather than per listing and per transaction fees, premiere accounts are only $7.95 per month. The friends turn that into zero cost by taking advantage of the offer of a free premiere account for users who promote the site. "Even without the free account, a six month membership would still only be a fraction of what I pay in weekly Ebay fees," stated Enright.
Other sellers use the site to clear the clutter from their homes. Barbara Erwin, known as BBQBarbie, and Rhonda Schnitz, CAS, both live in Kingwood villages that prohibit garage sales. They turn to KingwoodYardSales.com to get rid of unwanted items.
The discovery of the site came at an opportune time for Erwin, who was unable to work outside of the home due to an injury. Her KYS sales gave her an opportunity to make extra money as well as clear out her garage after moving to a new home. "It's wonderful that the Allgaiers have given us this site and the opportunity to make money," stated Erwin, "It's been a real blessing."
For those interesting in giving an online yard sale a whirl, a recurring refrain among successful KYS sellers is "pictures sell." "Get the premiere account," Enright advises new sellers. Erwin agrees and adds, "Be honest in your descriptions and you'll have happy buyers."
The face-to-face interaction during the transaction has created many friendships among KingwoodYardSales.com users. Enright, Sade, and Schnitz are all part of a Bunco group made up of people met through KYS sales. Erwin and Schnitz have made many new friends through repeat buyers from the site.
Some buyers on KingwoodYardSales.com are looking for a specific item and take advantage of the city-wide search function. Others browse the listings religiously looking for that yet to be found great deal. One such buyer is Veronica Galbreath. Galbreath visits the site daily, "you never know what is going to be out there," she states.
Her tips for finding that perfect item: "Refresh, Refresh, Refresh," referring to the fact that over 2,000 items are posted daily. Items move off the front page so quickly that some may be missed unless the browser cache is refreshed.
"Keep it short and sweet." Galbreath insists that she has missed out on great deals by minutes because she was too lengthy in her inquiry email. Her last piece of advice is to "say that you want it and show up when you say." The secret to the success of KingwoodYardSales.com may be found in a statement by Galbreath, "what one person may not want, another person may need."
The next time you want to clear out that cluttered closet, make a little extra cash, or find a great deal, visit the yard sale site nearest you.
KingwoodYardSales.com is the hub of an online network of classified and for sale sites. Free and premiere memberships are available. For more information, visit www.kingwoodyardsales.com. For a full listing of yard sale sites in the Houston area, visit www.kingwoodyardsales.com/houston.jsp.